How NOT to Follow Up With a Potential Investor

Whether you’re brand new to the startup world, or you already have a round of two of investment under your entrepreneurial belt, you’ll know there are few things more exciting than meeting someone who shows a genuine interest in investing in your company.

Like any new relationship, following up with an investor after meeting them for the first time can be tricky.

On the one hand, if you’re interested in exploring the potential for a future partnership you’ll want to get that across.

On the other hand, you don’t want to come across as pushy, presumptuous, or come on too strong.

So how do you walk the line between expressing your enthusiasm and ending a potentially valuable relationship before it’s even begun?

In this week’s video, I’m sharing my best tips for how NOT to follow up with a potential investor.

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I'm Kelly Keenan Trumpbour, angel investor and venture capitalist. In this video, I'm going to talk about how not to follow up with a potential investor.

If you want to follow up with a potential investor, there's a spectrum of options, and there's definitely a right way and a wrong way to do it. Here's two examples from my experience.

Once, I went out to lunch with a friend of a start-up that I had invested in. We hit it off. We had a great conversation. Not long after that lunch, she sent me a follow-up email, and it said, "I understand if you don't want to invest right now." But for me, I didn't even know that she was interested in pitching me. I could guess that maybe that was where we were headed, but she never even really approached the subject of should she invest. That was a little too soft.

On the other hand, I knew another woman who asked me to coffee, so she could pick my brain about her start-up. Ultimately, she decided not to pursue it, but out of the blue one day, her husband cold called me and pitched me his idea for a start-up, and just knew that I'd be interested. That was way too pushy.

The first assumption you should never make when you follow up with an investor is what level of interest they actually have. There's a chance for you to actually get them to tell you, do they want to hear you pitch, and that should be part of any conversation. But don't make the mistake of thinking that they do or they don't want to hear your pitch.

Let's say you've met an investor in a more casual setting. When you want to follow up with them, have some ask that's not directly about your company. Ask them if they take pitches, when they take pitches, who you should contact. Have something that's not directly about your company.

Never, ever act like you've met an investor who you've really never met before. To send an investor an email, or to walk up to them in a room and act like you know each other and you always have, is a dead giveaway that you're faking it, and you're just trying to get into the person's good graces.

Never, ever act on an investor lead you got from someone else, without first asking for an introduction. That's key. You don't want to just cold call somebody you've never met and risk jeopardizing the relationship that your friend or colleague had with that investor in the first place.

A huge don't, never take an investor's information and pass it along to people who you think they might be interested in talking to. You might have friends and family who you think are a great fit for that investor, but it is not your place to pass on that information without first talking to the investor.

The best way to follow up with an investor is to make sure that you're not leaning too heavily on a pitch, nor going too soft and being afraid to ask for next steps.

If you'd like to learn more about networking with investors, go to, and download a free copy, or follow the link.

Until next week


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